As an expert at making people run away in fear before a relationship has even started, I decided to create an easy-to-use list of bad dating and dating app behaviors we should all avoid so you never have to make the same mistakes I’ve made.
Not realizing that some people just want texting buddies
Some people will make every effort to keep your textual attention but never pull the trigger on a date. And they never will. These are lonely people who just want a text buddy. We assume you got the dating app to date someone, so learn to recognize these emotional vampires. (I’m sorry — nothing against lonely people, but there are other apps for that.)
You come on too strongly
You want to look interested, but not too interested because dating is terrible these days and everyone is too cool for school.
If you want to ensure a relationship stopped before it even starts make sure you seem extremely emotionally fragile over the outcome of your relationship status. Any sign that you need the other person and they’ll go running for the hills. Also avoid asking about their last night, childhood friend’s names, and mother’s favorite flower until things are (a lot) more developed. Those are “creepy” things to know until then.
You don’t come on strongly enough
Dating is a high-wire act. You have to play hard to get but not too hard to get. If you’re not responding to texts for days on end and space dates between weeks, it can be difficult to get to the point where you’re both actually comfortable dating officially.
Play coy, but casually drop reminders that this person is someone you’re definitely interested in. If someone doesn’t feel like you’re interested, chances are they’ll be looking elsewhere faster than you can say “friends.”
Copying and pasting generic junk (profile and messages!)
According to one study, copying and pasting generic messages is a big fail even if you’re considered attractive.
[E]ven if you’re a good-looking guy, sending the same message to multiple women will hurt your chances. Big time.
Zoosk looked at male members on the site who got the most matches, likes, and attention from other women (aka the guys who were either the best looking or had the most compelling dating profiles) but still didn’t get a lot of responses when they sent out messages. Why were these handsome men all striking out?
87% of the good-looking guys who weren’t getting replies to their messages, were sending the same exact message to multiple women.
The same researchers also found that the painfully unoriginal and lazy opening of simply saying “hey” is one of the worst there is — netting you 35% fewer responses.
[I]f you’re wondering what online dating first message clichés to avoid (copying and pasting aside) here are a few of the big ones:
Getting to know you…
The most common phrases that didn’t do well were things such as to get to know you, like to get to know you, to know more about you, would like to get to, love to get to know, and get to know you better.
Hope to hear from you…
Other phrases that women didn’t respond to were hope to hear from you, to hear back from you, forward to hearing from you, to hear from you soon, look forward to hearing from, and I hope to hear from.
I’m looking for…
Phrases such as looking for a nice girl, guy looking for a nice, looking for someone with similar, I’m looking for a person, a nice guy looking for, or nice guy looking for a didn’t do so well either.
Hi, how are you…
As we’ve found out before, the hi, hey, hello, how are you messages aren’t very successful and now we know it doesn’t matter if you’re attractive or not.
Of course the same rule about generic-ity also applies to profile bios.
You get too comfortable too quickly
Everyone loves the point in a relationship where they can give up trying and show up to “date night” in sweatpants and wet hair. I’m not saying you can’t do those things, I just highly suggest not — for a long while. Dating is a lot a Game of Thrones except instead of everyone getting murdered everyone gets dumped for really ridiculous reasons.
For the first few weeks try to put your best foot forward, so to speak. Act like yourself, of course. Just maybe without all the gross things your body does within the first few weeks. Few people are going to be thrilled to make things FBO with you if you’re known as the person who farts and burps and shows up looking like a train wreck to Movie Night.
You’re not using the right app
The dating app universe is so much bigger than Tinder, and they’re often geared toward niche demographics and desires. Some are designed for farmers looking for women seeking an agricultural future, others are for Christians only, and other websites still are for friends with benefits.
In fact, we compiled a list of niche dating apps currently in operation (and doing very well!). Consider narrowing your scope and ditching Tinder if at all possible — a bearded 6 feet 4 inches farmer who loves dogs and is in the 1% is waiting for you.
- Bristlr – for bearded men and the women who love them.
- Trek Passions – Star Trek fans need love too, and this is the app to help them out.
Farmers Only – Farmers and ranch hands, because city folks just don’t get it.
- Tall Friends – For tall people only. I assume it was made by a woman scorned by all the short guys lying about their height but I didn’t dig into it.
- Equestrian Cupid – People who love horsies, which are indeed awesome creatures, but I can’t help but question the kind of guys who sign up for this. Update: I looked into dating apps + horses and discovered there’s at least a dozen of them. What the hell!
- Purrsonals.com – Same as above, but cats. Once again, cat loving men…a little suspect.
- Sizzl – Bacon lovers. If you hate vegans with a passion, this is certainly a possibility.
- Gluten-Free Singles – lol.
- Tindog – Tinder but for DOGS!
- Wingman – For those looking to join the mile-high club.
- Luxy – “Tinder, minus the poor people.” There are actually a lot of these “1%” apps and frankly I think they’re probably prostitution rings.
- 3nder – Tinder, but for threesomes only.
You show signs of possessiveness
You know when you’re allowed to be jealous of someone before actually dating them? Hint: never.
Jealousy is not a chic look and not only will acting jealous prior to a “real” relationship make you look like a nut-case, it’ll make your potential partner wonder what other harmless things you’ll react negatively to down the line.
You’re not honest about your needs
This is probably the biggest of all the tips. You can ruin a relationship before it even begins by presenting yourself as someone you’re not. You can’t act like you’re cool with an open relationship, or seeing other people, or only hanging out once a week if you’re really not.
If you’re getting into a relationship under false pretenses you’re going to feel the backlash quickly. The best way to ensure you and your potential S.O are on the same page is have the fabled “talk.” While this may make some of you cringe, it works!
Shawn Binder is a Los Angeles based writer who has appeared in VICE and Hobart Pulp.